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Juniper Buys Netscreen For $4 Billion

Juniper Networks today announced its intention to purchase security-systems vendor Netscreen Technologies in a deal worth almost $4 billion, according to the companies.

Juniper, which primarily sells high-end routers to telecom service providers and large enterprise networking customers, said it wants to be able to offer a wider range of technologies to its customers, a target list that might now include more enterprise-networking concerns than before. The deal puts Juniper more closely into competition with Cisco Systems, which already offers a wide range of networking products for enterprises.

"Our collective customers have told us security, reliability and performance are mission critical to their network users, and together we will deliver a compelling response to their needs," said Juniper chief executive Scott Kriens, in a prepared statement.

Investors reacted strongly to the deal Monday, sending Juniper's stock price down several dollars per share while vaulting Netscreen's, perhaps a reaction to the high premium Juniper placed on Netscreen's stock. According to the announcement, Juniper proposes to exchange 1.404 shares of its own common stock for each outstanding share of NetScreen Technologies common stock. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2004, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Netscreen, known for its virtual private networking (VPN) and firewall hardware products, recently announced revenues of $81 million for its most-recent financial quarter.